Newspaper article The Canadian Press

North American Stock Markets Advance on Strong U.S. Employment Data

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

North American Stock Markets Advance on Strong U.S. Employment Data

Article excerpt

Stock markets higher on strong jobs data

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TORONTO - The Toronto stock market closed with a modest gain Friday even as a rebound in American job creation boosted confidence in the U.S. economy.

The S&P/TSX composite index gained 29.14 points to 14,789.78 after the U.S. Labor Department reported that the American economy created 248,000 jobs last month, which handily beat expectations of about 215,000.

The U.S. jobless rate also ticked down 0.2 of a point to 5.9 per cent, the lowest level since July 2008. August job creation was revised upward to 180,000 from 142,000.

"This is a positive set of numbers, no doubt about it," said Bob Gorman, chief portfolio strategist at TD Waterhouse.

"Apart from the overall job increase, it was mostly on the private sector side. Average weekly hours worked up a touch, which is also good. So that means employment is up but also money in people's pockets is up."

Toronto gains were held back by lower resource stocks as the strong U.S. dollar continued to punish commodity prices. Gold miners fell as bullion closed under US$1,200 -- its lowest close since February 2010.

U.S. indexes registered solid gains with the Dow Jones industrials ahead 208.64 points to 17,009.69, the Nasdaq gained 45.42 points to 4,475.62 and the S&P 500 index climbed 21.73 points to 1,967.9.

However, the strong U.S. dollar and subpar trade data pushed the Canadian dollar sharply lower, down 0.76 of a cent to a fresh six-month low of 88.82 cents US. Statistics Canada said that Canada's trade balance hit a deficit of $615 million, down from a revised July surplus of $2.2 billion.

Despite the gains registered Friday, markets ended the week with losses amid a list of concerns.

While U.S. data has been generally positive, economic data from China and Europe has been weak. On Thursday, International Monetary Fund managing director Christine Lagarde described the economic recovery as "brittle, uneven and beset by risks. …

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